United Nations

Social Development Commission Panel Considers Priority Theme ? Social Integration; Speakers Examine Obstacles to Policies Aimed at Achieving ?Society for All?

Also, Executive Coordinator of UN Volunteers Makes Presentation;

Commission Hears from Some 20 Speakers in Continued General Discussion

During a high-level panel on social integration that opened the session?s second day, delegations in the Commission on Social Development today wrestled with finding reasons for why many social integration policies were inadequate, with many agreeing they had been developed on a piecemeal basis, and fashioned into solutions seldom accompanied by implementation and evaluation frameworks. 

The Commission, during this forty-eighth session, is in its second year of reviewing the theme of social integration, with a focus on the interrelationship with poverty eradication, and full employment and decent work for all.  It is set to complete its biennial cycle on the topic at the conclusion of this session on 12 February with the adoption of action-oriented policy recommendations.

As the Secretary-General points out in his report before the Commission, social integration was endorsed at the 1995 World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen as the framework for advancing social development and social policymaking, yet the goal of creating ?a society for all? has remainedelusive.  Although there have been some advances in the 15 years since the summit, societies are still far from being stable, just and equal, he says.  Contrary to the principles of social justice, millions of people are unable to meet their basic needs and remain disempowered and voiceless.

?I denounce all those who side with injustice, discrimination, and exclusion,? said the panel?s keynote speaker today, Peru?s National Ombudsman, Beatriz Merino.  Ms. Merino?s remarks centred on the debilitating effects of persistent discrimination on social integration, well-being and the fight against poverty.  To confront that required recognition of the concept of equal opportunity and inclusion, which meant eliminating political, economic, social and cultural barriers that kept people marginalized.  Too often, however, policies were either lacking or too limited to address those concerns. 

She said that a good example of that could be found in the socially fractured state of Peruvian society and the poor status of Peru?s indigenous people.  According to official figures, the indigenous population of the Peruvian Amazon was 330,000 people.  But the census used to gather that data relied on a person?s mother tongue as the only criteria to identify whether he was an indigenous person, she said.  It did not use other objective criteria such as Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which dealt with the rights of indigenous people, and the subjective criteria of one?s own self-identification. 

Among the remedial actions undertaken, the National Ombudsman had addressed the need for health care, bilingual education and other rights for indigenous peoples, she said.  To end discrimination against Peruvian women, the Government had enacted the Equal Opportunity Law and it had several entities that promoted programmes to implement it.  But, in practice little had been done to evaluate implementation, and so her office had designed a system to track progress.  To help people with disabilities, it had drawn public attention to the fact that 87 per cent of such persons were not receiving adequate education.  Its advocacy efforts had resulted in a positive change to ensure education for those people.

The other panellists today were J. Piet Hein Donner, Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Netherlands; Servacius Likwelile, Chief Executive Director, Tanzania Social Action Fund, Office of the President of the United Republic of Tanzania; and Vojtech Tkac, Advisor to the Minister, Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, Slovakia.

Mr. Donner explained that Dutch policy was predicated on the idea that employment was crucial for social integration and social protection.  Work was not only a source of income; it was the basis for active social interaction, personal development and acquisition of new skills.  Unemployment, poverty and social exclusion were closely related.  He called for new vigour for Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which referred to the right to work, free choice of employment, and just, favourable work conditions and remuneration. 

He said that the global economic and financial crisis had created an employment crisis in all countries.  But, instead of shunning globalization, the international community should learn from its possibilities, risks and inherent limitations.  ?Politically it is easy to raise the spectre of globalization,? he said.  There was broad suspicion that it was achieved at the expense of the poor and the weakest in the labour market, despite evidence in recent decades that it had fuelled economic expansion.  ?Moreover, stopping globalization is not a realistic option.  It is like crying ?stop the world I want to get off?,? he said.  The trick was to learn to control and manage it for everyone?s benefit.

Following the panel, at its afternoon meeting, the Commission heard a statement by Flavia Pansieri, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteer Programme, who equated volunteering with ?social capital?.  She said that volunteering opened up opportunities for the excluded, and in fact, promoted social inclusion.  Yet, the concept as a cohesive force to promote inclusive societies was not always consistently expressed in national policies.

Such was the case when it came to youth, she said.  Youth volunteering enhanced their participation and engaged their positive energy and innovation.  One of every five persons in the world was between the age of 15 and 24, and that proportion was even higher in developing countries.  And an estimated one-quarter to one-half of all refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide were either children or adolescents.  Yet, in some parts of the world, young people were still not seen as legitimate actors in community decisions.  They had the ability to ?think outside the box?, and societies risked losing that ability when they excluded youth, she said.

The Commission then resumed its general discussion, with many speakers saying that, despite the resolute commitments of their Governments towards social integration, including it as an instrument of economic growth, their efforts were encumbered by climate change and the economic, food, financial and energy crises.  Cameroon?s Minister of Social Affairs said those challenges undermined the noble objectives set forth by the world leaders in Copenhagen and undermined the benefits of investments aimed at social cohesion undertaken by developed and developing countries alike.

Botswana?s Principal Social Worker in that country?s Department of Social Services said support to address current gaps hindering achieving the Copenhagen commitments and attaining the agreed global development goals was ?far more urgent than ever before?.  Although Botswana had made modest strides in economic growth and human development during the past four decades, like other developing countries, it had not been spared the effects of the crises.  The international community and United Nations system should support initiatives to assist Member States advance the social integration agenda.

Despite the best of intentions, asserted Nepal?s Ambassador, it was generally a lack of resources and institutions in countries like Nepal that undermined social cohesion.  For many structural reasons, his country was trapped in a vicious cycle of a widening gap between rich and poor within the country, and at the global level, he said.  That was threatening social cohesion and harmony.  He strongly urged that least developed countries receive appropriate international attention, support and cooperation.

Statements in that discussion were also made by ministers and other senior Government officials from the following Member States:  Guatemala; Argentina; Philippines; Israel; Finland; South Africa; and Lesotho.

Additional statements were made by the representatives of Brazil, China, Italy, Australia, Morocco, Switzerland, Iran, Andorra, United Arab Emirates, and Indonesia.

The Permanent Observer for the Holy See to the United Nations also spoke.

The Commission will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday, 6 February, to continue its work.

Background

The Commission for Social Development met this morning to continue its forty-eighth session.  (For background, see Press Release SOC/4782 of 3 February.)

Panel Discussion

Commission Chairperson Leslie Kojo Christian (Ghana) opened the meeting and said it would be devoted to a panel discussion on the theme ?social integration and its relationship to poverty eradication and full employment and decent work for all?.  It was intended to stimulate thinking on how to incorporate social integration policies and principles into broader poverty eradication and employment policies, and how poverty eradication and employment promotion efforts could help achieve social integration, particularly of socially disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

The keynote speaker was Beatriz Merino, President of the Iberoamerican Federation of Ombudsmen and the National Ombudsman of Peru.  The panellists included:  J. Piet Hein Donner, Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Netherlands; Servacius Likwelile, Chief Executive Director, Tanzania Social Action Fund, Office of the President of the United Republic of Tanzania; and Vojtech Tkac, Advisor to the Minister, Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, Slovakia.

Keynote Presentation

Ms. MERINO said the Copenhagen Declaration identified unemployment and social marginalization as among the world?s greatest social ills.  There was also consensus that social integration was a key factor for sustainable development. Persistent discrimination in society strongly impeded social integration, well-being and the fight against poverty.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognized that all human beings were born free and equal.  The concept of equality meant that all people should be equal before the law and the State must prohibit and combat all forms of discrimination, be they based on race, origin, sex, ethnicity or disability.  ?The silent discrimination? practiced in all societies made it difficult to eliminate discrimination.

To confront that, it was important to recognize the concept of equal opportunity and inclusion, she said.  That meant eliminating political, economic, social and cultural barriers that kept people marginalized.  Too often, policies were either lacking or too limited to address those concerns.  The socially fractured state of Peruvian society and the poor status of Peru?s indigenous people was a good example of that.  According to official figures, the indigenous population of the Peruvian Amazon was 330,000 people. 

But, the census used to gather that data relied on a person?s mother tongue as the only criteria to identify whether he was an indigenous person, she said.  It did not use other objective criteria, such as Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which dealt with the rights of indigenous people, and the subjective criteria of one?s own self-identification.  That explained, in part, the institutional weakness of state institutions in addressing indigenous issues.  The National Institute for the Development of Indigenous, Amazon and Afro-Peruvian Communities had suffered from multiple organizational changes and weakness, creating obstacles for indigenous people, as well as indifference and scarce attention to their problems and concerns.

On the other hand, the National Ombudsman had addressed the need for health care, bilingual education and other rights for indigenous peoples, she said.  It had called on Peru?s Congress to approve a law to guarantee the right of indigenous peoples to be consulted by the State on issues concerning them.  The lack of such a law and opportunity for indigenous people?s to give prior, informed consent and voice to their issues had led to the tragic consequences of the violent events in Bagua, in north-east Peru, in June.

To end discrimination against Peruvian women, the Government enacted the Equal Opportunity Law and it had several entities that promoted programmes to implement it, she said.  But, in practice little had been done to evaluate progress, or lack thereof, of implementation.  For that reason, her office had designed a system to track indicators of progress.  To help people with disabilities, the National Ombudsman had drawn public attention to the fact that 87 per cent of people with disabilities were not receiving adequate education.  Its advocacy efforts had resulted in a positive change to ensure education for those people.

She stressed the importance of eliminating discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, saying the Peruvian Government had incorporated into policy the National Ombudsman?s recommendations on how to guarantee those peoples? rights.  Equally important was addressing the plight of undocumented persons.  According to the 2007 national census, 1 per cent of Peruvians did not have birth certificates and 3.2 per cent did not have a national identity card. 

Discrimination was not just something affecting distinct groups, it was something that was practiced, she said.  Hate fuelled and spread discrimination, to the point that it became the norm.  Making reference to Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who said ?I denounce all those who ignore the other half?, she said:  ?I denounce all those who side with injustice, discrimination and exclusion.?

Panellists

Mr. DONNER said Dutch policy was predicated on the idea that employment was crucial for social integration and social protection.  Work was not only a source of income.  It was the basis for active social interaction, personal development and acquiring new skills.  Unemployment, poverty and social exclusion were closely related.  He called for new vigour for Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which referred to the right to work, free choice of employment, and just, favourable work conditions and remuneration.  ?We haven?t achieved paradise is these past 60 years, but we have made some progress,? he said. 

The global economic and financial crisis had created an employment crisis in all countries, he said.  But, instead of shunning globalization as a result, the international community should learn from its possibilities, risks and inherent limitations.  ?Politically it is easy to raise the spectre of globalization,? he said.  There was broad suspicion that it was achieved at the expense of the poor and the weakest in the labour market, despite evidence in recent decades that it had fuelled economic expansion.  ?Moreover, stopping globalization is not a realistic option.  It is like crying ?stop the world I want to get off?,? he said.  The trick was to learn to control and manage it for everyone?s benefit.

He endorsed the ILO?s ?social justice for a fair globalization? and the common declaration on ?more and better jobs?.  Social protection was a basic pillar for decent work, but 80 per cent of the global population did not have social guarantees.  Global social protection standards should be developed.  He strongly supported the Global Jobs Pact and the Social Protection Floor — both ILO initiatives — and called on other international organizations and Governments to help the ILO carry them out.  Social protection floors were needed to combat poverty and foster national stability, as well as to promote fair, global competition.  They should include a set of basic social transfers, in cash or in kind, to provide poor, vulnerable people with essential health care, food, clean water, education and other essential services.  

He warned against creating uniform rules and protection levels, saying they would reinforce suspicion, rather than trust among citizens.  For example, in the Netherlands people would see them as an attempt to erode existing social protection.  In other countries, they would appear to be an economic burden.  Social protection floors should be improved in accordance with a country?s economic development.  That would not impose unreasonable burdens on developing countries, but it would create social safety nets for the population at large.  Developing a conceptual common framework would show populations that globalization would not come at the expense of social protection, and reassure Governments and employers it would not create a ?regulatory straight-jacket? that would hamper economic development.

Mr. LIKWELILE said human development was at the centre of social integration.  The challenges of poverty in Africa were real.  Despite Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and other programmes to combat poverty, it remained high.  In 2005, 380 million people lived in poverty, up from 190 million in 1990. Poverty reduction was crucial for social integration and preventing social exclusion.  Investing in human capital development, education, health and job creation enhanced the chance for defeating poverty.  It was evident that sustained reductions in poverty were accompanied by strong employment creation processes. 

Successful poverty reduction depended on, among other things, giving poor people a chance to contest their rights through normative channels, including legal frameworks, he said.  Civil and political rights must empower poor people to claim their economic and social rights, and demand accountability for good public services, pro-poor public policies, and transparent participatory processes.  Bottom-up approaches and a focus on allowing poor people to participate in agriculture, building infrastructure, small and mid-sized enterprises and access to microfinance were critical. 

Shedding light on the Tanzania Social Action Fund, he said it was guided by the principles of community and local Government empowerment, improving accountability and building capacity.  It allowed for community participation in decision-making.  Its operations were driven by demand and the direct transfer of investment resources to the community.  It acted as safety net for the poor and vulnerable, providing them with enhanced access to social services in education, health care, water and other areas.

Mr. TKAC said there were economic and social challenges to fostering social integration in Europe, such as the drop in the fertility rate and the ageing of the population.  Some European Union countries had faced a demographic catastrophe, as they grappled with poverty, immigration, and integration problems at all levels.  The European Union had a common agenda for social integration at several levels.  In October 1999, the Council of Europe adopted a common framework of social integration.  There were a series of common migration policies in areas of migration and national networks and focal points for immigration.  In 2007, a handbook on integration was published.

The European Union?s process for social integration would build on the Lisbon strategy, he said.  The social agenda would focus on solidarity and creating opportunity for employment, access to social services such as health care, and on fostering social inclusion and equality for all.  There were open-ended methods for coordination that encouraged active European Union citizenship and dialogue.  There were programmes for social inclusion for young people, health care for all, and equality and fair globalization.  In 2010, a decision was expected to be made to designate a European Union Year to Combat Social Exclusion.  One of its objectives was the recognition of the basic rights of individuals and enabling them to take an active part in society, as well as their right to leisure time.

Social integration must also address technological change, he said, and he pointed to the Council of Europe?s information system on social protection.  A European Union report was being prepared on the importance of technology, new media and language learning to the social protection agenda.  Major financial groups were often at the vanguard of social change.  The banking sector occupied too much space in the social sphere.  There were many lessons to be learned from the global economic and financial crisis in terms of globalization, Europeanization and privatization.  Health care deregulation and decentralization were important aspects of social integration in terms of ?social sovereignty? and independence, and new writings on that concept were important. 

Questions and Answers

During the discussion segment, delegates shed light on their respective countries? efforts to foster social integration, and posed questions to the panellists.

On a question about indigenous peoples? rights, Ms. MERINO said Convention 169 should be incorporated into law, in order to ensure that indigenous people were consulted before decisions were made concerning the use of their land and natural resources, particularly by the extractive and mining industries.  That would ensure the sustainability of investments and economic development, and give indigenous people the ability to participate in decision-making and reap the benefits of development. 

Regarding funding for social protection floors and its relationship to official development assistance, Mr. LIKWELILE said the United Republic of Tanzania had a national policy dialogue every year on that issue and it had developed a national framework for social protection.  Active, long-term participants were called ?development partners?, not ?donor partners?.  All involved, be they donors, civil society organizations or others, were on an equal footing.  He warned against creating a central power system, saying it could create conflicts among the various actors involved.  When social protection floor loopholes existed, certain people would always take advantage of them.  That was why they must be designed and managed properly.

On the same issue, Mr. DONNER said a Social Protection Floor was intended to enlarge a country?s existing system of social services.  Its development must be based on strategies for national development.  A common concept framework could also link one national system to another, so they could provide mutual support.

On a question about money transfers and how they fit into a broader social protection framework, he said they had enabled the Dutch Government to keep unemployment at among the lowest levels in Europe and, therefore, preserve stability.

As far as how a Government could organize payments or access to basic services, he said each country should tailor assistance based on what worked best for his citizens.  He said he was impressed with how the Government had made education accessible to poor children in India — where hunger was an obstacle — by providing them with one meal a day.

Presentation:  United Nations Volunteers

Before beginning its general discussion, the Commission heard from

FLAVIA PANSIERI, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteer Programme, who said the Programme welcomed the opportunity to join the Commission?s work, given its relevance to its own mandate.  The Programme?s rich experiences had demonstrated the critical importance of volunteerism in contributing to development effectiveness.  In fact, volunteering contributed ?social capital? to each social group whose situation was regularly monitored by the Commission, such as youth, the elderly, migrants, persons with disabilities, national minorities, and all others marginalized from mainstream participation in development activities.  Volunteering opened up opportunities for the excluded.  In fact, it was a means to promote social inclusion.  Yet, the concept as a cohesive force to promote inclusive societies was not always consistently expressed in national policies.

Such was the case when it came to youth, she said.  She highlighted the promise of youth volunteers in addressing development issues, and to society as a whole.  Youth volunteering was a means for enhancing their participation and engaging their positive energy and innovation, including towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  One of every five persons in the world was between the age of 15 and 24, and that proportion was even higher in developing countries.  The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) had reported that one-quarter to one-half of all refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide were either children or adolescents.  That truly sizeable population group ran the risk of exclusion, from climate change or conflict, and it was crucial to consider what their future would look like and to contribute to shaping a gratifying, fruitful, stable and productive life for them. 

She said that seven of eight global development goals were either directly or indirectly related to youth.  Social integration was critical to building young people?s resilience and empowering them to contribute meaningfully to meeting those goals.  Yet, in some parts of the world, young people were still not seen as legitimate actors in community decisions.  Young people had the ability to ?think outside the box?, and societies risked losing that ability when they excluded youth.  The Programme had commissioned research to examine the relationship between volunteering, decent work and youth, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.  Among its conclusions was that volunteering was a main contributor to increasing social integration and decent work.  The research had also confirmed the value of the volunteer experience, including in building young people?s life and leadership skills.  Volunteering could connect young people through social networks.  ?Volunteering can really make a difference,? she said.  ?Let?s harness it.?

General Discussion

CATHERINE BAKANG MBOCK, Minister of Social Affairs of Cameroon, said that her country placed the human being, without exception, at the heart of each and every ?development set up?.  That was the universal imperative and final objective of all development growth.  The well-being of its people remained a central concern.  Cameroon?s new development vision, through 2030, had as its overall objective to turn the country into an emerging democratic State united in its diversity.  The instrument was perfect for promoting social integration by strengthening the role of social assistance, women?s economic empowerment, the family?s protection and stability, universal access to quality basic services, and employment generation, among other things.  For Cameroon, social integration had pride of place.  It had done much to protect the elderly, having recently concluded regional consultations involving elderly representatives, who ran the gamut in terms of cultural diversity.  The result was a national policy on ageing and a national database, by which individuals could share knowledge and life skills with the young. 

She said that the Government, in order to improve life for persons with disabilities, had instructed builders to construct buildings and roads with proper access.  Public authorities were determined to find appropriate responses for persons with disabilities, which included rehabilitation of buildings in the subregion and development of new infrastructure in the north.  The interface between youth and public authorities had been elaborated in many actions aimed at assisting young people, including creation of a new body to facilitate implementation of the national youth policy.  Gender equality was another concern, and the Government was seeking to ensure equity in the various budgets.  The Government?s quest to promote social integration to achieve sustainable development was also reflected in its report on growth and employment generation.  Among other strategies, the document focused on the development of programmes for investment in energy, mining, industry and other labour intensive fields. 

Overall, the Government aimed to turn social integration into an instrument of growth and to end the vicious cycle of need by empowering individuals to contribute fully to society, she said.  However, despite those efforts, the country was deeply affected by climate change and the economic, food, financial and energy crises.  Those challenges undermined the noble objectives set forth by the world leaders in Copenhagen and undermined the benefits of investments undertaken by developed and developing countries aimed at social cohesion.

OSVALDO LAPUENTE, Under-Secretary-General of the Secretariat of Planning and Budget of Guatemala, said progress in Guatemala in eradicating poverty had been slow, falling just 0.5 per cent from 2000 to 2006.  That, coupled with the current financial crisis, would mean Guatemala would not be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing extreme poverty to 10 per cent in 2015.  To address that, the Government had emphasized strategic guidelines for poverty reduction and development opportunities.  It was also using public funds to help mothers in extreme need of assistance.  The efforts were coordinated by the Social Cohesion Council.  Last year, efforts to mitigate the crisis were thwarted by the worst drought in 30 years, which had affected basic grain crops and severely impacted the country?s poorest regions.

The country would have been worse off without the My Family Advances programme — which provided conditional monetary transfers for free health and education services, as well as food programmes, he said.  After many decades of abandoning vulnerable groups, the Government had begun steps toward social integration and to create a minimum level of welfare.  In the past 10 years, public expenditures for social programmes had increased threefold, thanks to commitments in the Peace Accords.  They increased from 8.2 trillion quetzals in 1999 to 23.8 trillion quetzals today.  The Government was also working to expand its free health and education services.  

ENRIQUE DEIBE, Secretary of State for Employment, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, Argentina, said the international community could not solve the problems of the financial crisis with the same ideas that promoted and caused it in the first place.  Social integration strategies could not be developed using the economic orthodoxy that left millions unemployed and without other rights.  Shedding light on Argentina?s experience, he said the country began socio-economic recovery in 2003 through creation of a ?labour society? based on full employment and decent work and social protection systems that accompanied integration and inclusion.  At present, more than 40 per cent of Argentines were employed, a significant increase from 1998 when the old economic model for development was employed.  Real wages were at their highest level in 24 years.  Argentina?s minimum wage was the highest in Latin America.

Regarding social protection, he pointed to the Argentine President?s decision late last year to set up a universal child allowance that brought unemployed and vulnerable workers into the social security system.  That policy had the widest coverage in the country?s history, extending protection to 3.5 million children and 1.8 million parents and legal guardians.  A total of 3.35 million people had been added to the ranks of those receiving pensions and retirement benefits thanks to plans to extend non-contributive pensions, a moratorium and plans for anticipated benefits.  Almost 700,000 people were benefiting from education programmes, jobs training and programmes promoting productive entrepreneurship.

ALICIA R. BALA, Undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development of the Philippines, noted that, in the face of the global financial and economic crisis, her country had initiated its own stimulus package — the Economic Resiliency Plan.  It aimed to cushion the impact of the crisis and jumpstart the economy through a mix of accelerated Government spending, tax cuts and public-private sector investments in infrastructure projects.  In its endeavour to mitigate the impact of the crisis, the Government also continued to formulate and implement social protection policies, programmes and projects.  One such effort was the clustering of existing programmes dealing with social protection and social welfare into the cohesive National Social Protection and Welfare Program.  It sought to strengthen safety measures to cushion the effects of the unfavourable global environment. 

Additionally, she said, given the Government?s limited resources, efforts to rationalize budget allocations had been institutionalized in order to efficiently cover the intended beneficiaries.  Another significant effort was implementation of the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program, which was intended to protect the country?s most vulnerable sectors from the consequences of reduced or lost income, by providing emergency employment and funding, and supervising livelihood projects.  The Government also had in place a social protection strategy, flowing from which, it outlined a number of ?imperatives for action?, which included provision of capital assistance for a microcredit project that enables beneficiaries to form community organizations for entrepreneurial activities, to augment their household incomes. 

The Philippines had also formulated and enacted laws, plans and policies geared towards promotion of the rights, elimination of discrimination and the achievement of social integration based on equality and respect for human dignity, she reported.  Those included the juvenile justice and welfare act, the anti-pornography act, and the Magna Carta of Women.  Among its national plans and frameworks were the Philippine Youth Development Plan (2004-2010), the Plan of Action for Senior Citizens (2006-2010), the National Plan of Action for Children (2005-2010), and the National Plan for Filipino Families (2006-2010).

REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP ( Brazil) said Brazil?s Government had implemented a wide range of policies aimed at reducing poverty and promoting social inclusion and decent work.  The Bolsa Familia, a cash transfer programme that rewarded poor families with monthly subsidies as long as they sent their children to school, got them immunized against disease and received pre-natal and post-natal care.  Since its inception in 2003, the programme had benefited some 50 million people — almost a quarter of the Brazilian population — making it one of the most comprehensive cash-transfer programmes in the world.  It had helped reduce inequality and poverty, which fell more than 20 per cent between 1994 and 2009.  It also led to considerable progress in school attendance and a sharp drop in child malnutrition.  Since its inception, the programme had lifted more than 19 million people out of extreme poverty at a relatively low cost of 0.4 per cent of the country?s gross domestic product (GDP).

The Benefit for the Elderly and Disabled in Poverty programme granted a monthly minimum wage for persons with disabilities and older persons in families earning less than 25 per cent of the minimum wage, she said.  It had already benefited more than 3 million people.  Brazil?s minimum wage had increased in real terms by 54 per cent since 2003.  Other initiatives helped people facing food insecurity by setting up popular restaurants, community kitchens, food banks and free school meal programmes.  She supported the International Labour Organization Global Jobs Pact.  Since the crisis started, Brazil had created more than 1 million formal jobs, illustrating that the promotion of decent work was essential to creating a sustainable, just economy.  South-South cooperation and the exchange of knowledge and best practices between countries could help achieve social inclusion and justice.

DAPHNI MOSHAYOV, National Coordinator for Immigrant Absorption, Ministry of Welfare and Social Services of Israel, said that the education of children, including girls, was both a long-term tool for productive employment in the next generation and, itself, a result of productive employment, as parents with greater earnings and economic security could better afford to send their children to school.  Social integration was an evolving reality in Israel.  The blending of immigrants into its society since its rebirth in 1948 deserved special attention.  Immigration was often marked by poverty and hardship, and some found it difficult to adapt.  Host countries also faced challenges in absorbing immigrant populations, and sometimes tensions could develop.  However, through concerted efforts to share experiences, cultures, and narratives, such tension could be transformed into harmony.  From Israel?s perspective, social integration was not a luxury, but a necessity, as it had absorbed immigrants from the Middle East, Africa, Eastern and Western Europe, North and South America and elsewhere. 

She recalled that, in the 1990s, Israel had absorbed more than 1 million immigrants from around the world, which had resulted in the adoption of some guiding principles to address the remaining shortcomings in their social integration.  The first, in line with the Secretary-General?s recommendation, was provision of a forum for open dialogue between the Government and immigrant groups.  The second principle recognized that, while immigration policies were the domain of national governments, immigrants lived in local communities, within their own social and occupational contexts, and thus, communal authorities should be able to ?localize? regulations.  The third principle required cultural competence among professionals.  The fourth directed authorities to ?reach out to immigrant fathers?, and the fifth principle emphasized the importance of building partnerships with immigrant non-governmental organizations.  The sixth principle concerned the challenge of promoting a sense of national identity in a heterogeneous society — an identity that extended beyond mere citizenship.  That was perhaps the most difficult to implement. 

LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said poverty eradication, jobs creation, social security and protection of vulnerable groups was fundamental for social integration worldwide.  The financial crisis had highlighted the importance of those four links and the need to strengthen coordination among countries to address them.  A broad, holistic approach was needed to eradicate poverty and to distribute income and public service resources in a way that would maintain social justice and equity.  Integrated strategies were needed to expand employment.  Countries should strive to rekindle economic growth and maintain macroeconomic stability in order to create the conditions needed for stable employment.  Policies were needed to end labour-market and workplace discrimination based in race, age, disability and gender, and to create enthusiasm among disadvantaged groups seeking employment. 

Effective social security systems were indispensable for promoting social integration, and the international crisis had fuelled demand for them, particularly among the poor, the disabled, the elderly, youth and immigrants, he said.  Countries should comprehensively review their social security systems and the impact of their contingency measures.  Special attention should be given to the plight of developing countries, which had a harder time in the wake of the financial crisis with eradicating poverty, promoting employment and improving social security.   China had worked to create jobs for rural migrant workers and people in disaster-stricken areas, as well as expand basic pensions and social security.  It had worked to provide free, compulsory education, particularly for the children of rural migrant workers.  It aimed to achieve universal access to basic health care and build a basic health care system by 2020.

LUCA ZELIOLI (Italy) said that the pressures created by the recent economic crisis threatened businesses and workers, both in developed and developing countries, and jeopardized the living conditions of the most vulnerable groups.  The crisis had affected Italy, as at the end of 2008, 11.3 per cent of Italian households — or more than 8 million individuals — had been classified by the National Statistical Office as ?relatively poor?.  Further, 67.5 per cent of poor households remained concentrated in southern regions, where only 32.5 per cent of the population lived.  In particular, there was deterioration in the situation of intermediate age groups — 35 to 44 years of age — and of persons with limited schooling.  There was also a high concentration of poverty among the elderly, single persons, single parents and couples with only one breadwinner.  The highest incidence of poverty was among families in which there were no job holders, or only retirees.  That data confirmed the need for a ?work first? approach to the financial crisis, hence, the Government?s measures to protect jobs and strengthen social protection.  He was pleased, therefore, that the main outcome of the present session would prioritize achievement of full productive employment and decent work for all.

In that framework, Italy actively supported United Nations initiatives to promote social protection floors and to assist countries in developing the tools and policies needed to widen social security networks, he said.  In the past year, his Government had reinforced social services provided by local authorities, broadening access to unemployment compensation and job protection and providing income support to ?less favoured? social groups and households, in order to enhance their purchasing power.  An analysis of the welfare system strongly recommended that public welfare in Italy be reorganized around the core values of person, family and community, as envisaged by the Constitution. At both the national and international levels, Italy remained committed to tackling the challenges of human development and social inclusion.  It had repeatedly confirmed that commitment, particularly with the Group of Eight Labour Ministers? meeting ?People First?, held in Rome in March 2009, and at the July 2009 L?Aquila Group of Eight summit.

MARJA VAARAMA, Assistant Director General of the National Institute for Welfare and Health, Finland, said her Government had addressed the challenges of vulnerability, poverty and exclusion through a social protection that comprised social security and universally acceptable health and social services.  But, some high-risk groups needed more support.  The Government was implementing programmes to support families with children and action plans to help the Roma minority and disabled people.  It was working on a programme to help the elderly, as well.  There was no negative trade-off between growth and equality, and Finland?s history illustrated that point.  She supported the initiative on the Global Social Protection Floor, to expand people?s access to essential health and social services and security in developing countries. 

Finland had supported a specific initiative to include disabled people in development gains, in the spirit of the new Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, she said.  That support was channelled through the Global Partnership on Disability and Development.  The current crisis had shown how vulnerable the world was to poorly designed or socially irresponsible policies and decisions.  Recovery called for joint action to limit the damage.  It was important to safeguard essential social security and services in times of crisis.  Children must not be allowed to suffer from malnutrition and lack of schooling, and young people must not be left without decent work.  The world could not allow older people to fall into poverty because of lack of social protection.  The Commission must discuss and exchange ideas on good practice in social protection.

ANDREW GOLEDZINOWSKI (Australia) said that all nations knew too well the human face of social exclusion — the life of crippling disadvantage and isolation.  That challenge must be addressed through a policy of social integration, or, as it was called in Australia, social inclusion.  Achieving a more inclusive society required tackling the most entrenched forms of disadvantage and discrimination, promoting respect and diversity, fostering equality of opportunity and the participation of all people.  He recognized that the economic and food and security crises had made it challenging for some countries to achieve their goals, in that regard.  Through Australia?s international development assistance programme, his country sought to help the most vulnerable countries in their efforts to address social inclusion challenges.  For example, it recently announced funding of more than $460 million for a food security initiative, of which one-quarter would be used to strengthen and expand social protection programmes to help vulnerable people withstand natural and economic shocks.  No region or nation was immune from those issues. 

In that light, he said, Australia had recently stepped up its work to combat its own domestic challenges.  The Government had developed a policy design and delivery toolkit for use by agencies, from the town and city level to state and national authorities.  The toolkit sought to help translate social inclusion principles and priorities into the daily practice of government and public administration.  It promoted a coherent approach to economic and social policymaking.  It was important to each individual to take responsibility for his or her own life, but the playing field was never level.  Everyone had a different starting point in life, and everyone should have the best possible chance at life by replacing obstacles with opportunity.  For example, the obstacles to employment and independence faced by people who lived with disability; the seemingly insurmountable obstacles faced by a child growing up in poverty or a dysfunctional family; the challenges facing remote communities in reaching government services and employment opportunities.

He said that, for Australia, social inclusion was not only a fundamental issue that went to its values and character as a nation — it was also a matter of responsible economic management.  The principle of social inclusion had been the mainstay of the comprehensive reforms achieved the past several years.  For the most marginalized Australians — indigenous Australians — the Government was resetting indigenous policy to build new relationships, based on respect and trust.  It had acknowledged, through its National Apology to Australia?s ?Stolen Generation?, the injustices of the past.  It had acknowledged, too, the decades of failed policy, with the terrible legacy of intergenerational poverty, despair and hopelessness.  It had set specific and measurable targets to close the gap of disadvantage — in housing, health, education and employment — and it had backed those goals with unprecedented spending of more than $4.6 billion, as well as a concerted national effort to improve health and education, to get people working and to get houses built.  Empowered for the first time, new indigenous leaders were emerging, including indigenous women.

HASSAN EL MKHANTAR (Morocco) reiterated Morocco?s firm commitment to the Copenhagen outcomes and said they were a pillar in its efforts to achieve social integration.  With the help of several United Nations agencies, Morocco?s recent reform had made it possible to create a people-centred social policy.  There were efforts to reduce illiteracy, and to enhance literacy for 1 million people, and to ensure that 60,000 children not in school had access to education.  The Government aimed to reduce illiteracy to less than 20 per cent by the end of 2010 and even further by 2020.  It had a rural development programme and programmes to educate children in rural areas.  To ensure the rights of disabled people, it had a socio-economic action plan and in April 2009 it ratified the Convention on the Rights of the People with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol.

The Moroccan Government had created a law on the rights of disabled people and set up a national fund to promote their development, he said.  It also adopted a national strategy to prevent the risk of developing handicaps, due to such things as illness and on-the-job accidents.  Further, any effort to achieve social development could not be carried out without women?s full participation in society.  The National Initiative for Human Development created in 2005 aimed to reduce poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion in rural and urban areas.  The budget for its 2006-2010 action programmes exceeded $1 billion.  The Government created a strategy in September 2009 to improve the rights of the elderly and to enhance their capacity and competence.  He called for strengthening international cooperation to achieve the Copenhagen goals and put into action efforts to achieve them. 

VUSI MADONSELA, Director General of the Department of Social Development of South Africa, said that promoting social integration, for his region, was not only a key priority, but also a fundamental ?eco-socio-political imperative?.  The ?African Common Position on Social Integration?, adopted in Windhoek in October 2008, emphasized that social cohesion rested on, among other things, universal access to education, skills development, health care, shelter, rural and urban development, environmental protection, social security, water, food and appropriate nutrition.  For his delegation, the concepts of social integration and social cohesion were like Siamese twins, whose heartbeat was measured on the degree of harmony, cooperation and mutual confidence found in any society.  But, that harmony could easily be undermined by such factors as discrimination against certain segments of society on arbitrary grounds.  Social disintegration invariably led to the eruption of social phenomena, such as domestic violence and various forms of abuse against women and children, and the marginalization of other vulnerable groups, including the elderly, youth and persons with disabilities.

He said that such phenomena signalled a serious decline in social solidarity.  A conscious effort at rediscovering and cultivating social solidarity was an antecedent to achieving meaningful social integration and social cohesion, which, in turn, could lead to political stability and economic prosperity.  To achieve that, South Africa understood that every effort to bring about the desired social change must involve those who were currently socially excluded, in ways that permitted them to influence the outcomes of such change.  He highlighted South Africa?s social assistance programme, which was the Government?s largest poverty alleviation measure, providing cash transfers to more than 13 million South Africans afflicted by various forms of vulnerability.  But, social integration could not be achieved by government efforts alone.  Accordingly, his Government called on all sectors of society to join in a national partnership to cultivate social cohesion and social solidarity as defining features of African humanity.

JEAN-JACQUES ELMIGER (Switzerland) said the current crisis highlighted the fact that the world was far from achieving the Copenhagen objectives of an inclusive, fair society for all.  It was time to strengthen coherence between the three dimensions of sustainable development — social, economic and environmental.  The crisis should not be viewed as a fatality, but a challenge requiring the world to rethink globalization?s social dimension and social integration.  It was encouraging to note that the Group of Twenty had been talking about ?an employment-oriented framework for future economic growth? and that the ILO was involved in Group of Twenty processes.  The ILO Global Jobs Pact showed the importance of coordinating global economic reform measures at the social level, as an act of solidarity.  The Secretary-General?s report rightly highlighted the importance of social protection systems for social integration. 

In Switzerland, as in other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, creation of a universal social protection system was crucial for economic and social development, he said.  It played an essential role as an automatic stabilizing factor, particularly in times of crisis, even if the crisis added risk to financing such a system.  The Commission must support efforts to create a global social protection floor that would guarantee universal social protection coverage, and be adapted to each country?s specific needs and capacities.  It must be done within a reasonable time frame.  A broad consensus was needed, based on:  respect for and promotion of fundamental human rights, protection against discrimination; equal opportunities; and respect for diversity.   

ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran) said that, among the programmes and actions adopted nationally to realize the goals of social development, emphasis had been placed on improving health, education, social integration and participation, poverty eradication, and employment.  In identifying employment generation as the primary goal of its economic development, Iran paid special attention to the elimination of discrimination and creation of jobs for the most vulnerable.  To achieve social inclusion, increasing participation and political inclusion were pivotal elements.  For that purpose, the Law on the Establishment of Councils was approved by the Islamic Consultative Assembly in 1996.  Since its approval, three nationwide elections had been held for members of city councils.  Women were also witnessing substantial advancement in the past decade, with their number in managerial positions and in universities having increased significantly.  Moreover, the indicator for women?s economic participation over the past 10 years had risen by 72 per cent.  The number of women entering institutes of higher education was now nearly 70 per cent of the total entrants, which was an increase of nearly 20 per cent over last decade and 27 times more than 30 years ago.

He said that social protection was indispensable for advancing social inclusion, and Iran had created a large social protection system with some 28 social insurance, social assistance, and disaster relief programmes benefiting large segments of the population.  Those programmes included training and job-search assistance, health and unemployment insurance, disability, old-age and survivorship pensions, and in-kind transfers, including subsidies for housing, food and energy.  The Social Security Organization was the primary institution in the social safety system, playing an important role in the sustainability of Iranian society and in protecting the nation?s human resources.  Health outcomes had improved greatly over the past 20 years, and Government activities in less developed regions to improve services had stepped up.  Access to primary health care for both urban and rural populations was nearly universal. The Education Ministry had carried out several programmes to promote the right to education and to elevate it qualitatively and quantitatively for all population segments.

NARCIS CASAL (Andorra) said social integration was necessary to provide decent work and jobs for all and to eliminate poverty, but the financial crisis had made that difficult to do.  It was necessary to step up solidarity for all those that required it during such difficult times.  It would be inexcusable for any Government to forget those people in precarious circumstances.  As part of its employment creation programmes, Andorra?s Government was working to create jobs, retrain workers for new lines of work and reduce unemployment.  It was assisting the unemployed and others who had been affected by the crisis through creation, for the first time, of social protection measures similar to those offered in neighbouring countries.  Last year, the federal Government and local actors alike had stepped up efforts to set up social policies.

Authorities were working to improve housing conditions and to create public housing, he said.  It was necessary to promote the equitable distribution of resources and, for the first time in Andorra?s history, all political parties had agreed to set up a direct taxation system.  That was a major change.  Also, programmes had been set up to assist the elderly.  In the last few decades, women had increasingly joined the ranks of politicians and Andorra now enjoyed a high number of women in political posts.  Those rapid changes were made possible, in part, by Andorra?s small size and by the Government?s strong political and social will.

CELESTINO MIGLIORE, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said that those responsible for promoting social integration and cohesion knew all too well that it was not attainable by a simple, though indispensable, mix of good laws and social measures and incentives.  There was always a need to push further ahead and to take into consideration the integral good of the human person in his various dimensions, including the spiritual.  In a world beset with the soaring woes of the economic and financial crisis, the deliberations over promoting social integration must take into account its link with poverty eradication and full employment, including decent work for all.  While the financial system seemed to be regaining stability, still, in many places, unemployment levels continued to worsen.  Among the reasons why was the substitution of labour by technology and the ever-growing push towards consumption over labour. 

He said that, in order to promote economic and social growth, along with employment, the patterns of consumption should be focused on rational goods and services that promoted greater connection between people.  By investing in ?relational? goods, such as medical care, education, culture, art, and sport, the State would be addressing development at its root, while also promoting employment and long-term development.  Social development and integration would not come about solely from technological solutions, since they concerned primarily human relations.  Focusing on human relations called for an openness to life, which, in turn, was a positive contribution to social and economic development.  Promoting life and the family and finding ways to integrate the contribution of all people would allow societies to realize their full potential and achieve development.  For that reason, the family occupied a central place.  As social integration was promoted globally, it was also crucial that greater attention be given to migration, particularly to irregular migration, in order to mitigate intolerance and mutual friction between citizens and newcomers. 

NAJI AL HAI MUBARAK ( United Arab Emirates) said human development, social services and protection for people in society was crucial for social development based on equality, justice and prosperity.  The United Arab Emirates paid special attention and care for women, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and people who could not work.  It had made notable progress in implementing the 2008-2010 federal strategy for sustainable development and social development.  It set up a Ministry of Social Affairs to put that strategy into action and to build a wide range of partnerships between the public and private sector.  Senior citizens enjoyed respect based on social traditions.  The Government had created the legal foundation for ensuring a dignified life for the elderly.  The social security law guaranteed social and financial aid in the form of pensions, health care services and education.  The personal status law made children financially responsible for their elderly parents.

Federal law had also laid the groundwork to empower and integrate disabled persons through education, vocational rehabilitation, the right to employment and the right to run for public office, he said.  The Government provided free education, vocational and technical training, and it set up national coordinating mechanisms to develop human resources and employment.  Social security programmes focused on the entire family.  The social security law ensured financial aid for families in need.  Poverty-eradication programmes provided Government housing and loans for housing. 

HAMILTON MOGATUSI, Principal Social Worker, Department of Social Services, Ministry of Local Government, Botswana, said that the achievement of sustainable growth, and poverty reduction, in many countries, particularly in Africa, remained elusive.  Many developing countries, as well as countries with economies in transition, still deserved special attention and, in that regard, the international community and United Nations system should support initiatives to assist Member States advance the social integration agenda.  Also imperative was a scaling up of fully funded and proven initiatives in education, health, gender, agriculture, energy and infrastructure, in order to limit the threat of the global slowdown on those key social sectors.  Although Botswana had made modest strides in economic growth and human development during the past four decades, like other developing countries, it had not been spared the effects of the crises.  Support to address current gaps hindering achieving the Copenhagen commitments and in attaining the agreed global development goals was ?far more urgent than ever before?. 

He said his country remained committed to the comprehensive approach to social development, as set forth in the Copenhagen outcome.  The country continued to strive to improve the quality of life for its citizens and to promote social integration through the provision of services to targeted groups.  The Government was acutely aware of the challenges faced by persons with disabilities and, in that connection, was reviewing its policy, with a view to addressing those needs much more effectively.  The Government was also paying increased attention to the elderly and working to facilitate effective implementation of the Madrid action plan.  It aimed for a society for all ages.  Efforts made to address the needs of the elderly included the Old Age Pension.  Youth empowerment was also a matter of utmost national priority.  In recognition of the role played by youth, the Government had set up a Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.  Faced with numerous socio-economic challenges, which affected families in Botswana, the Government had spearheaded a consultative process, conducting workshops across the country on family issues.  It had also enacted laws, including the Marriage Act of 2000, the Married Persons Act, Domestic Violence Act of 2008, and the Children?s Act of 2009.

RETSELISITSOE KHETSI, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Lesotho, said Lesotho continued to strive for social integration and inclusion in its development agenda.  For example, it continued to offer free primary health care and highly subsidized treatment and care in post-primary public health facilities.  That had expanded the reach of health care to everyone, including the poorest.  All public health centres offered free care and treatment for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.  The Government, through public-private partnerships, ensured that tuberculosis and HIV-positive patients received free medication from private health centres.   In 2000, the Government introduced free primary education in public and church-run schools, in a bid to promote universal education.  Thanks to that programme?s success, it was extended to include the first three years of post primary-education.  The Government aimed to make primary education free and compulsory.

Lamenting the slow progress in implementing the Madrid Plan of Action, he said the Government had adopted policies to assist the elderly, such as an old age pensions, as well as assistance for them to care for sick relatives and grandchildren orphaned after their parents died of HIV/AIDS.  A Government programme gave monthly stipends, as well as scholarships, to orphans and vulnerable children for post-primary education.  The national youth action plan aimed to mainstream youth employment into macroeconomic policy, promote entrepreneurship and create youth skills.

GYAN CHANDRA ACHARYA ( Nepal) said he supported the idea of a resolution on social integration, as that would sharpen the focus on social development issues, thereby facilitating realization of the Millennium Development Goals.  Social inclusiveness should have broad societal appeal in providing equal opportunity to all.  The Secretary-General?s report said that the goal of creating a society for all had remained elusive, as many individuals and societal groups continued to face discrimination and were subject to extreme poverty.  He agreed with that observation and, therefore, efforts must be accelerated with focused programmes.  The global food, fuel and financial crises, coupled with climate change, had impeded the pace of both economic and social development.  Rising unemployment, cuts in social spending and diminished access to credit tended to push more people below the poverty line.  Poverty, in turn, led to social exclusion.  The international community, therefore, must consider special solidarity programmes in those critical times. 

He said that Nepal had adopted a rights-based approach to development, guaranteed by its Interim Constitution of 2007.  In its policies and programmes, and current budget, the Government had initiated several programmes.  Social security for senior citizens, widows, endangered ethnic and indigenous groups, persons with disabilities and incapacitated persons was an important feature of its social development policy.  The Government was establishing health shelters for the elderly in each of its five development regions, with the aim of providing appropriate care, medical treatment and attention to the conflict-affected elderly.  To harness the creative development of the youth, it was formulating a national youth policy.  It was also committed to ending illiteracy and to making education inclusive and equitable at all levels.  Universalizing primary education was a top priority.  The Civil Service Act had been amended to provide individuals with disabilities with Government employment opportunities.

Nepal was in a predicament and, for many structural reasons, was trapped in a vicious cycle of a widening gap between rich and poor within the country, and at the global level, he said.  That was threatening social cohesion and harmony.  He strongly urged that least developed countries receive appropriate international attention, support and cooperation.  Despite the best of intentions, it was generally a lack of resources and institutions in countries like Nepal that undermined social cohesion.  The fourth United Nations conference on least developed countries next year in Turkey would be another opportunity for those countries to come to the fore of international debate and address their special difficulties.  He was of the view that social integration was critical to preventing conflict and sustaining lasting peace in societies around the world.  As his country emerged from a decade-long conflict, it was committed to bringing about a massive social transformation, as a way to ensure peace and stability.

ADE PETRANTO (Indonesia) said poverty eradication, full employment and social integration were mutually reinforcing pillars for the sustainable, human-centred development identified by the Copenhagen Summit.  But, there were many stark reminders of social exclusion, particularly in developing countries.  Considering the global financial crisis and the onset of climate change, many parts of the world were likely to suffer setbacks in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  The international community had not succeeded at forming an effective global partnership to address the myriad of socio-economic challenges.  Current international development models, which employed market-based economic frameworks, lacked a human-centred dimension.  To further social integration, Indonesia?s new democratic paradigm built on its long tradition of social solidarity.  It had oriented the current socio-economic development strategy to ensure development for all.

That strategy was based on the principle of development that ensured equity and justice, respected diversity, strengthened local economic development, maintained harmony and balance between growth and equity, and promoted human equality, he said.  It focused on pro-poor, pro-job and pro-growth strategies as well as including vulnerable and disadvantaged persons — such as women, youth, the elderly and the disabled — in social development.  Ongoing efforts had raised Indonesia?s human development index to 71.1 in 2008, from 68.7 in 2004.  The Government was in the process of ratifying the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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Fonte: UN

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NOTÍCIAS,. Social Development Commission Panel Considers Priority Theme ? Social Integration; Speakers Examine Obstacles to Policies Aimed at Achieving ?Society for All?. Florianópolis: Portal Jurídico Investidura, 2010. Disponível em: https://investidura.com.br/noticias-internacionais/united-nations/social-development-commission-panel-considers-priority-theme-socialintegration-speakers-examine-obstacles-to-policies-aimed-at-achieving-societyfor-all/ Acesso em: 22 jun. 2024